Nash Block (1905-1907), 902 Farnam Street
Crunch and Munch
Designed by one of Nebraska's most distinguished early architects, Thomas Rogers Kimball, the Nash Block is individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in architecture, commerce and industry. Designed for use as factory and wholesale warehouse space, the structure reflects state-of-the-art technology in a transitional period of industrial architecture. The building was designed and equipped with the latest fire safety techniques in mind, including brick enclosed stairways and elevators, standard fire doors, stand-pipes, an automatic sprinkler sysrem and outlet scuppers on each floor. Structurally, the eight-story, 132-foot square Nash Block is a combination of exterior masonry bearing walls and heavy timber mill construction.
The Nash Block was built in 1905-1907 for the M.E. Smith Company, a major manufacturer and wholesaler of dry good whose business interests encompassed the entire northwest of the United States. The firm was organized about 1870 in Council Bluffs and moved into the Omaha area in 1886. The company continued to grow and soon expanded in the manufacturing of clothing about the time they moved in the Ames Block (1101-07 Howard) which was also built expressly for their use (1889). By the turn of the century they were the largest and most important dry goods firm in Omaha.
Today the Nash block is the only remaining building of an important complex of three M.E. Smith Company buildings that stood on this block. The building is currently scheduled to be rehabilitated into apartments as a certified historic project.